In 2017, SmartMom launched the Real Life SmartMom series featuring your favorite Mommy Bloggers, experts and influencers. We go to these women for advice, recipes, support and whenever Google comes up with an answer we don’t like. Let’s get to know these amazing mommas a bit better – why? Because they are SmartMoms; and smart moms talk to SmartMoms.
This week we invite Meghan Joy Yancy to join the SmartMom community. Meghan is currently mother to 5 beautiful kiddos, but number 6 is on the way! As “one of those hippie + holistic moms,” Meghan shows us how to use essential oils, gives us a look into homeschooling, and has successfully created a community of encouragement, love and joy in “today” through her blog and Instagram @meghanjoytoday.
Get to know each of her kids, her favorite products, and a look into her ideal day below:
Tell us about your kids: names, ages, and fun facts
There are so many of them so I will try to make it short and sweet.
Samaria 7. Creative + dances to the beat of her own drum.
Nehemiah 5. Wild at heart + soft soul.
Shiloh 3. Free Spirit + exudes intense love.
Zion almost 2. Ball of chaos + cuddles.
What are some of your favorite things about your kids?
Getting to know each of their unique personalities and learning how to parent each of them the way that they best respond to and best deserve. It’s not always easy but I love realizing new things that make them tick and discovering ways to reach them on their own level while challenging them to grow and learn with me. They LOVE being home together each day (as I homeschool) and it’s such a blessing to see them interact with one another.
Who do you look up to for parenting advice?
I think I turned out pretty darn well (insert sarcastic laugh here) and honestly, I still call my own mom and dad for parenting advice. I always say something like, “I need your wisdom as a mother, grandma, pastor, phycologist, etc.” and then her and my dad spew out truth to me. I am thankful for them.
How would you describe what you do for your blog?
I’m the one who doesn’t like to be put in a box and labeled a certain way but I suppose if you had to box me up, it would be “lifestyle” focused because I just share our life and different aspects of how we parent, what we do and how we live life. And I do it all with the thought of, “How can I add value to someones’ life?” If I can give encouragement or hope to someone in my words, I am one happy camper.
How do you balance work and family?
It is not always easy and sometimes the process changes but it’s something I keep at the forefront of my mind each day. I never want to be too heavy in one area of life so that the other areas are lacking. First and foremost, I am a mom and wife and I need to keep my priorities straight. But that is not to say that some days, I am not immersed in my blog and home businesses and working hard in those arenas. I try to stay very organized, sometimes keeping a schedule so I can stay on task. But also leaving room for flexibility and spontaneity. One thing that has been so helpful with balancing work and family is that I have worked out a system with my husband that allows me to step away from home and sit in a Starbucks for 3 hours to write once every week. I look forward to that time alone (although I usually bring 1 child with me on a “date.”) And it’s always a time I can either catch up on a workload I slacked on all week, or give me the space to work ahead in the coming week for upcoming projects.
What does an ideal day look like for you?
Just living in the moment with my family. As much as I enjoy anytime I am “working,” I truly cherish the slow moments with my family. Exploring a nature path or just having a lazy day at home filled with snuggles and hugs and boardgames and cozy fires. Having everyone present in the moment. And I am the one most guilty of being on my phone (because the majority of my work happens on my phone) but having no electronic devices in our faces is just divine. I love a slow and simple life and have to be purposeful in achieving it at times.
What were some of the biggest questions you had or challenges you faced as a first time mom?
The pressures of doing what all the baby books and every other mom said to do in my mothering. Our society is really big on HOW you should parent and what makes the best kind of mother and I thought I needed to follow this parenting book and that tv show moms’ advice. But really, I needed to silence the noise and just listen to my mama heart. Its engrafted in our very being and although I believe there is a time and place to get wisdom and knowledge from mothers who have experienced it before us, there are also many times to just do what you want and need to do for your family and not feeling the need to do what every else is doing, just because everyone else is doing it.
How did becoming a mom change who you are?
It’s been my dream since I was a little girl to become a mom. I couldn’t wait for the day. If there is one thing that motherhood had taught me with a resounding BANG… it’s been patience. Patience in everything. How to achieve it, how to keep it and how to walk it out in different circumstances. It’s still not always easy but it’s part of the journey. Another way motherhood has changed who I am is by making me a more self-less person. And also, a more selfish person. I know, that doesn’t make sense but let me explain. For years, I was the mom giving every piece of myself to my kids and husband. And I loved it but it drained me. I felt myself living out my purpose but I would be depleted at the end of the day. I would give of myself constantly because that’s what a mom does. She pours love out on her kids emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. We are like a waterfall of love. And although we get that love back in hugs and kisses and the sweetest of words, our aching bodies might tell us differently. And I became very self-less. Not thinking about myself often. Not taking care of myself. Not putting much thought into the person I was. And that is where and when I learned to be a little selfish at times. Because when I take the time to fill my cup, I am a better mom and woman for it. When I exercise, eat right, do my hair and makeup (sometimes), go out for a night with the girls, pursue my own dreams and goals and make space for me, I have that much more to give to others. And that is a good thing.
What are you favorite baby products you’ve discovered since becoming a parent?
I’m one of those hippie + holistic moms so YL essential oils fill my home and I use them for anything and everything. During pregnancy, labor, birth, baby and as my kids grow up, we use essential oils for most anything that comes our way and it’s been a kick butt lifestyle we have chosen to live.
What was the most surprising or unexpected thing about becoming a mom?
Realizing the great responsibility that is placed in my own two hands. That I have little hearts and minds to mold and it is one of the most greatest challenges I can experience in life and also brings the most intense amount of joy.